By Francis Wakefield
A group of retired senior officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) urged both houses of Congress to ensure that the resultant Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) must be in compliance with the constitution.
The Advocates for National Interest or ANI, a group formed recently and under the leadership of retired military general Edilberto Adan, said that they decided to come out in order to promote and increase awareness of the national interests, especially the proposed BBL.
“Our group Advocates for National lnterests (ANI) consists of former legislators, members of the Cabinet, ambassadors, civil government officials, generals and flag officers,” ANI said in a statement.
“Our main objectives are: to advocate key measures that enhance national security, to advance public awareness on critical defense and security issues, and to support good governance and reform initiatives and policies that unite and strengthen the nation.”
“We believe that a more active information campaign about national security threats and issues is needed considering the complex security environment,” the group added.
In order to air further their concerns, the group said that they will engage various stakeholders through public forums and the media.
Aside from the proposed BBL, other top issues under discussion are the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea dispute, and Corruption, Criminality, and effective Delivery of Justice.
“Our urgent and critical concern is the impending passage of a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). We stress that the BBL must not violate the Philippine Constitution and that it will unequivocally ensure that the autonomous region in Mindanao will forever remain part of the Philippines. Economic development and good governance are key solutions that il address the Mindanao problem,” ANI said.
“However, we also believe that to ensure armed conflict is terminated leading to a lasting and sustainable peace, there must be definitive provisions, with verifiable compliance, in the BBL on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the MlLF.,” the group said.
At the same time, ANI also said that they are concerned with the developments in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.
“We are for a peaceful resolution of the dispute while asserting the national sovereign rights in that maritime area,” ANI said.
“We support a strong political will to fight corruption and criminality, and the reform measures needed in our justice system that is applicable to all Filipinos,” it added.